If you're new to running, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all the gear and lingo that gets thrown around by the more experienced runners. You may wonder if you really need everything that they talk about, or if it's OK to start out with a few basics. This article will help you understand what you truly need when you're just getting started and what you can (or cannot) add as you tackle more miles.
First, let's talk about the necessary items. All you really need is a pair of good running sneakers—something comfortable to wear while you run—and, for women, a good sports bra. Seriously, that's it. Everything else is gravy.
I personally like Asics and Brooks running sneakers, but feel free to check out some of the other brands as well. One of the best ways to get the right sneaker for you is to visit a local running store and have them watch you run on a treadmill. They should be able to help you pick the right shoe for you. Running in the old sneakers you have in your closet is probably not the best idea, and could lead to injury, so take the time to get some advice from the experts.
Once you have your sneakers picked out, look for some basic running apparel. You'll need a shirt or two, preferably made of good wicking material, as that will help pull the sweat away from your body and will dry faster than cotton. But, if you're just starting, feel free to wear what you have in your closet. You'll also need running shorts, pants, tights or even a skirt, if you like. Feel free to shop for new ones or just wear what you have at home.
A good sports bra is a must for women and I recommend getting a good one. Don't skimp on your sports bra! If you're not comfortable while running there is no way you will stick to it. I love Champion brand bras, as they provide good support and minimal chafing.
If you are planning to go long—say 10 miles or more—then you may need Body Glide to help reduce chafing. (You can also use Vaseline as well. The only real difference is that Body Glide has a good applicator.)
You'll also need a water bottle if you're going to run more than 4 or 5 miles. In the summer that distance will probably drop to around 3 miles, but that will depend on each person's biology. Just remember that it's always better to have too much water with you than not enough. To start, feel free to carry a bottle of water you can get at any grocery store. As you run more and farther, you can invest in a better bottle at that time.
There is so much gear that can be helpful to runners, and it can be absolutely overwhelming. Here is a breakdown of some things that are helpful, but not absolutely necessary—especially for the beginning runner.